Inspections carried out in stores revealed, among other things, rodents, their feces, and mold, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Czech Trade Inspection (ČOI) said. However, details of the cases were not provided, so it is unclear how many cases and which establishments are involved, nor what penalties the sellers may face, if any.
The Czech Trade Inspection (ČOI) stated that out of 417 inspections, 91 cases are suspected of violating the law. “In nine cases, there were even two violations within one inspection,” ČOI spokesman Jiří Fröhlich said. Vojtěch Bílý, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said that store inspections found violations of both food and consumer protection laws.
“In the case of food law violations, this included, for example, breaches of hygiene requirements, providing misleading information to consumers, or offering food with expired use-by dates. Specifically, this included findings of rodents and their feces in establishments, contaminated premises including mold,” Bílý explained.
“In the case of consumer protection law violations, this was mainly due to incorrect information about discounts. The discount was not calculated from the lowest price in the previous 30-day period, and this lowest price was also not stated,” the ministry’s spokesman added.
Regarding the disclosed violations, neither the Czech Trade Inspection nor the Ministry of Agriculture provided details upon inquiry. The inspection did not want to reveal the names of the stores, stating that the decision had not yet become legally binding.
It is not yet clear what penalties, if any, the stores will face. “These findings have not yet been concluded within the administrative procedure, so the amount of fines imposed is not yet known at this time, and some cases are still being resolved,” Bílý said, adding that the results of completed inspections will be published on the “Food on the Pillory” website for consumers.
Minister of Agriculture Zdeněk Nekula (KDU-ČSL) spoke about rodents in stores at a press conference on Thursday, commenting on the outcomes of the Czech Trade Inspections and the State Agricultural and Food Inspection’s price inspections. He first tweeted that the results were “dramatically worse” than expected and then told reporters that he would welcome chains taking care to “properly declare prices and ensure that mice do not run around stores so that the food inspection does not have to close stores.”